A Small Support Resulted in a Big Change!
Khalid Hussain is a 24-year old man with a wife and child. His family is presently living in the village of Haji Murad Ali Magsi. When he was four years old, he was diagnosed with polio and as a result both his legs were severely affected. His parents took him to a local physiotherapist but it did not help as much as they had expected. Hence, Khalid had to move about from one place to another by crawling.
Khalid’s parents sent him to a local school and he studied there till Grade 8. At the same time, he also started working in a nearby tailoring shop. The tailor master (Mr. Roshan), who became his trainer, was a kind and co-operative person. He encouraged Khalid to learn every skill that he could manage and always gave special attention to him. This continued for 8 years until Mr. Roshan was sure that Khalid had learnt enough to start his own tailoring business.
In 2010, Khalid rented a shop and started his business with second-hand machine. The distance from his house to the shop was only half a kilometer. But owing to his disability, Khalid had to encounter many difficulties to reach the shop and so, wasn’t able to concentrate on his work. The main obstacle was transportation. He had to wait for someone to take him to and from the shop otherwise he would have to crawl. While crawling, his clothes used to get worn-out in double quick time and this was especially bad during the rainy season. The circumstances made it difficult to crawl on the wet road and it made his clothes muddier and dirtier than before. As a result, his shop remained closed for most of the time.
In beginning of 2013, during my field work tasks, Khalid approached me and shared his problems with me. After listening to him, I had two or three counseling sessions with him and his elder brother (Mr. Ashiq) to make them understand the situation better. Khalid’s problem was clear to both: how to reach safely and on time for work in his shop.
During one of the subsequent tours, Mr. Zahoor Iqbal Gill – Director HR and Admin at MALC, also visited Khalid and listened to his problem. Khalid’s family was desperate for him to start work again and so they requested us for a wheelchair, and also to repair the sewing machine that was at the shop. After discussing further with the family it was advised that the responsibilities would be shared. A decision was reached where Khalid’s brother took over the responsibility of repairing the sewing machine and MALC’s project team would provide a tricycle to Khalid. By June 2013 Khalid’s brother had repaired the machine and a tricycle had been provided to Khalid.
On March 7th 2013, an Impact Assessment visit was scheduled and the MALC team went to Khalid’s house to assess the situation. Khalid was ecstatic and he reported how the tricycle had changed his life. The intervention gave him a sense of independence as he was no more dependent on another person to take him to and from the shop.
He said, “I receive more work orders as I can now give increased time to my work. An increased workload has given me more income, and it has risen from Rs. 200/- to Rs. 450/- per day. The respect I get from customers, neighbors and family has doubled now. My social circle has also grown as I can now go to the Mosque for prayers and also attend social gatherings whenever they are held. My wife is also very happy. Previously, I used to crawl to work and my clothes would get ruined, thus making it difficult for her to wash. Times have now changed.”
He Has Dreams Now!
Waljee is a 23 year old man. He belongs to the Bheel (a Hindu caste) family. His father works as a peasant for the landlords. The family is large, comprising Waljee, his father, 11 sisters and two brothers. Waljee is the second-eldest in the family. The area where Waljee resides has two boy’s schools and one girls’ school. However, Waljee’s father could not afford to send any of his children to school even though the education was almost free.
At the age of 10, Waljee developed high grade fever. Due to the ignorance of his parents, poverty and absence of health facilities, he was not treated properly and subsequently developed a neuropathy problem. This problem resulted in him having fixed joints in his right leg which meant he could not walk and had to depend on a walking stick.
Hardships and opportunities!
Since that incident, Waljee lived in depression. It caused some concern for his family. In desperation, his father purchased edible items for children, worth Rs. 2,000/-, which Waljee had to sell. This was the motivation he needed as he then started interacting with people. The activity developed Waljee’s self-esteem and gave him a renewed sense of confidence. His business started growing quickly because he had a good business mind. With time, his small shop turned into a popular grocery shop for the village. His father helped Waljee manage the shop as he used to bring the items from the market. One thing that Waljee did very well was that he never gave any commodity on credit. According to him, the people always delayed in repaying and it wasted a lot of time and energy to remind them.
However, disaster struck just as his business started to flourish. During the floods of July 2011, Waljee lost his shop and his family lost their muddy house! Waljee went into depression as he had lost everything he had worked so hard for.
During a routine MALC need assessment task, the team found Waljee sitting sadly in the corner of a hut. His parents were asked the reason for his sadness and it was made known to the MALC team that his disability was the main reason he lived in such a state. On further inquiry, the team was also informed about his shop loss during the flooding.
Since the MALC team was already providing a house for Waljee’s family, he was asked if he really wanted to run a shop again. The team was eager to know if was ready, willing and able to manage a business again. In order for Waljee to provide evidence of this fact, the MALC team gave him a task to challenge him: he had to help the masons and to assist in leveling the ground for his family’s new house. Waljee completed the task well, and as a reward, MALC built him a new shop from the remaining material from the construction of the house.
In October 2013, MALC provided Waljee with grocery material worth Rs. 30,000/-. A senior accounts officer from MALC was on a monitoring tour of the area and volunteered to do a formal opening of Waljee’s new shop. This proved to be a motivation for Waljee. He became very active again, lost all his depression and became a contributing person to the family as well as his community.
Impact of the Intervention:
In November 2013, the MALC donors and monitoring team visited Waljee’s shop. They were impressed with the way he was maintaining the accounts. Items worth Rs. 25,000/- were stacked on shelves, while Rs. 7,000/- was stored in a safe to purchase more material. His day’s revenue from sales (from the time he opened his shop till 11am) was Rs. 400/-. He informed the team that good business timings were usually during the morning and evening times. An additional satisfaction for the MALC team came in the form of a small kitchen garden that he maintained in front of his shop. He grew onions and garlic.
In March 2014, the MALC team went for another impact assessment to Waljee’s shop. His family was very happy with Waljee’s business dealings and his efforts to become a contributing member of society. Waljee’s business was flourishing and his daily income was about Rs. 250/- to Rs. 300/-.
Previously, when Waljee did not have his business, he used to live in depression. He never received attention and thus, gave little importance to his personal hygiene and physical condition. With his shop now flourishing, he keeps himself neat and clean. As a result, the people of his community have now started asking him to consider marriage. He has received a number of marriage proposals already and this is a positive sign. Waljee has a dream to have his own family and to lead a normal life like the other people of his community.
Mitho Khan’s story: His experience!
Village: Sham Mir Khan Lund
“Before the floods hit my village, I owned my very own push-cart. I used that push-cart to earn a living for my family and myself. The flood took away my push-cart and I became very worried because my only source of income was now lost and I didn’t know how to survive.
Then God heard my prayers and MALC came to our help. Our village was provided with agriculture support, livestock, shops and permanent shelters. MALC also provided me with another push-cart, and I was able to earn and support my family once again.
For all the help that MALC gave my village, we are all very glad. I am particularly happy to have a shelter and push-cart again. Now I can resume carrying wood, transporting crops and completing other laborious tasks with ease. I earn Rs. 400/- per day, where Rs. 150/- is spent on fodder, Rs. 20-30 is spent on cart maintenance and the rest of the money is spent for my household. God Bless the MALC management and staff for their help! Ameen.”
(On 4th March 2014, the MALC team visited the village cluster to do an impact assessment. When Mitho’s house was visited, his family was happy and praised the MALC staff for their efforts. Mitho wasn’t at home as he was doing his day job. His family’s day-to-day needs are being managed easily and he also takes proper care of his donkey and cart).
Malaika's Story : Surjani Town, Karachi
A tale of a young girl, who had to live all her childhood in darkness, only because of lack of access and affordability to proper medical care…
A sense of achievement and fulfillment is truly felt when your actions bring a sincere smile on another's face. This was experienced recently at the eye clinic at MALC Hospital in Karachi. A young woman, named Malika, aged 20, and hailing from Surjani Town in Karachi, was blind from birth. She had congenital cataracts in both eyes and her vision was limited to perception of Hand Movement.
Coming from a very poor family, her father and brother were the only bread-earners and depended on daily wages to support the household. Malika’s mother had been informed by a few of MALC’s past patients about how the organization offers FREE treatment for Leprosy, Tuberculosis and Blindness and so she decided to seek her daughter’s treatment from MALC.
Malika’s first visit to MALC was reassuring as the doctors confirmed that both cataracts could be removed. The right eye cataract was removed first, through surgical procedure, and Malika was asked to come back for a follow-up after 3 days. With her sight being restored completely in the right eye after 3 days, and excitement coursing through her body, Malika wanted to have immediate surgery for her left eye too. 12 days after having corrective surgery for her right eye, Malika underwent cataract surgery for her left eye. This was successful as well!
With sight restored in both eyes now, Malika’s happiness has no limits. She can see the beautiful world with her own eyes and following her dreams has now become a reality. She can pursue her studies, as well as help her mother in the household chores. Both, Malika and her family, are extremely thankful and grateful to MALC for blessing them with this gift.
My first ever field visit as Field Assistant at Trubat was very exciting. Our team was treated well by the patient when we went to give him MDT. My excitement dimmed as my colleague told me about the next patient who was troublesome. Every visit to that patient’s house was dejected and he was so stubborn to take medicines.
Our next stop was the same patient. As soon as we reached the corner of the street near his home, his whole family started shouting and abusing us. We tried hard to explain them purpose of our visit and that the medicines and treatment was all free of cost but seems they were determined not to listen to any single word.
Leaving them with heavy heart, we came back. Time flew and I visited Turbat again after 2 years. Recalling the upsetting situation and that patient, I asked my colleague about him and he informed me that there was no progress.
Time stops for no one, days passed and I became the incharge of Turbat centre, my all patients had been put on MDT except that one. Feeling soft for him, I decided to try once more and visited a local doctor to accompany me to visit the patient’s place. The doctor also failed to convince him and his family for taking the medicines and we both returned empty handed. Now, I was tired and firm not to visit this patient ever again.
One day, I heard a noise coming outside of clinic. I peeped out and saw the same patient climbing down the vehicle with his wife. Quite surprised I rushed out and supported him as he was too weak to walk and burning with fever. After examination I found him suffering from ENL reaction. I admitted him in ward and arranged blood for infusion. His wife was thankful, weeping and asking me for forgiveness at the same time.
After two weeks he was little better but weak and discharged form clinic upon his request, with a promise to be regular for treatment in the future.
Some time later, I was again on my visit to his village for MDT. Upon reaching his home, his family welcomed me warmly and made room for my seating. My eyes were searching him, anxious to see him in good health but I was shocked to hear that he passed away 10 days back. Holding my tears and grief I prayed for his departed soul and left his house.
Living at Ittehad Manzil, with other deformed patients Deedar and Hakeema developed a liking towards each other. Their past was alike and their present was same as they both were suffering from leprosy. The pain they shared was the reason of their marriage in June 2000.
When few years ago they were expelled from their tribes, they found no place to go as leprosy is considered as a curse in our society in general, and anybody suffering form this disease has to experience a bitter taste of life. Ittehad Manzil; a home and hope for neglected, a place of unity and harmony has adopted them and now they are permanent inmates there. Deedar being completely blind and Hakeema have an amputated leg, but both are living examples of courage and nerves.
Hakeema had grown a small field at the rare of Ittehad Manzil. Though, she has only on leg and deformed hands, she keeps her self busy cutting plants for goats and Deedar helps her looking after the goats. Imagine how a completely blind man can do this?
Hakeema is divorced form her first marriage; she has four children who occasionally visit her. Both Hakeema and Deedar had a negative perspective towards life, their hopes died when they were cursed by their loved ones, but while living at Ittehad Manzil their healthy approach and positive likeness towards each other made things easier and life beautiful.
Noor Din's Story
Like many other blessings of Allah Almighty, a faithful life partner is a blessing too. Nooruddin’s wife proved to be not only a good companion, but a good mother and a support to the family.
She managed to move her family form Kotri to Karachi just for the sake of her husband’s treatment. Her husband, Nooruddin – a body of skin and bones suffering from Pulmonary TB and weight only 35 kg.
They are family of four; Nooruddin, his wife and their two sons. Two years ago he was diagnosed TB, despite consulting many private doctors, Nooruddin’s disease did not cure. One of the reasons of his waning health was that the family had not had enough money for regular treatment. They had been living in a two room house and were three time thrown out by their landlord by not paying the rent.
When they came to Karachi, Nooruddin was admitted to MLR centre. He was too weak to walk or sit, and could not come to centre, so her wife took the responsibility to take medicines and feed him regularly.
At times one of our team members went to feed DOTS to Nooruddin at his home if his wife could not make it. His wife was the only breadwinner in the family and she did great job by managing centre visits, home and job at the same time. Though, Noorudding was a bit rude to her but she never raised her voice and continued to look after him as a good wife.
The most difficult time for this miserable family was when Nooruddin was too weak and admitted in OICD. His wife was the only person who could stay with him in the hospital and manage the home as well.
One day she went home to see her children and could not go back to attend her husband at hospital. The OICD management put Nooruddin in a taxi and sent him back to his home. She, then brought him to MLR centre where he was given all necessary medical help.
After few months of regular medicines and proper care Nooruddin was completely fine and discharged from MLR center. That was the wonderful day for his family.
Gradually his health improved, and he started working. He got support from Bait-ul-Mal through his area councilor and set up a PCO. His son also started giving tuitions and now the financial condition of the family getting better.
In all this difficult time, Noorudddin’s wife stood beside him courageously, which infact, was one of the reasons this family regained its strength.
We are proud of our team too, who at every step cooperated with this TB patient and his family to get things back in shape.
Tale of Pain and Tears
That was the worst experience of my life, running among dead bodies of animals and human in search of my son.
I work in TB-Leprosy centre and I was on two-day leave from clinic. I was so excited to spend the time with my family, but this excitement turned into a nightmare when a devastating earthquake jolted our area on 8 October. That day my younger children were in school and my elder son was in Muzaffarabad with my nephew to visit our relatives. I was working in fields when i heard an explosion. For few moments everything got vanished out of sight as dust was spiralling around. When i collected my senses back, I rushed towards my home, my wife was there – alive but there were cracks in walls. I, then asked a neighbor to come with me to my children’s school. Thank god, my kids were safe. Still I was restless concerning my other son and nephew’s safety. Suddenly a man came with the news of my nephew’s death. My brother and I left for Muzaffarabad at once. There were no means of travelling and communication system was damaged. We decided to go by foot. I still remember those horrid scenes. Dead bodies were scattered and we were on our way to ensure our loved ones’ safety.
We reached Dhanni on second day and stayed there for night. I had nightmares of corpses and injured and stayed awake.
Early next morning we started our journey again and reached Muzaffarabad. Our relatives had already buried my nephew. We joined and helped others for burials. We were all the same at that time – helpless, miserable, needy, without food and shelter under open sky. Soon, aids pooling in from different corners of the country. The rescue work was heart touching and unforgettable. May Allah shower His blessing upon all of us.